The book Fordlândia is the outcome of a research project and an art residency organized by the Suspended spaces collective, which took place on a boat on the Tapajòs river in Brazil. The boat navigated between the cities of Santàrem and Fordlândia. The latter was devised by American industrial Henry Ford, who decided in 1928 to cut into the Amazon forest in order to set up his own rubber production for the tires of Ford cars. The project was a disaster, as Ford failed to evaluate the weather, the agricultural and the human variables. The goal of this residency was hence to explore the history and legacy of Fordlândia as an encounter of industry and colonialism with the ecological stakes of the Amazon forest.
The title as seen on the cover and on the huge spine of the book is set in Boreal from Production Type, a choice by designer Jean-Claude Chianale. On the spine, Boreal takes the whole space – a visual metaphor for how Ford tried to settle and take advantage of a territory. On the cover, the roles change: the title is blind-embossed into the cover and disappears into the drawing of the map – the territory is taking over. Boreal is a “neutral”, highly legible font, convenient for corporate identity, administrative uses, etc.; here we see how it can evoke industrial and technical worlds, contrasting with the serpentine isolines of the wild untamable territory.
The interior of the bilingual publication (Portuguese and French) is set in Adobe Caslon. Fordlândia was published by Les Presses du Réel in October 2020 as Suspended spaces #05.